CMU Receives PM Medal of Appreciation

Regarded as the premier institution for tertiary maritime and logistics education in the region, the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) is focused on changing the higher-education landscape, while certifying students who are ready for the 21st century workforce.

The CMU, which acquired university status under a year ago, was among 65 institutions and persons honoured with the Prime Minister Jamaica 55 Commemorative Medal of Appreciation for contribution to nation building, recently.

Speaking to JIS News following the presentation ceremony, President, CMU, Professor Fritz Pinnock, described the institution as an “agile university” that responds to the needs of the nation and the region.

“It’s about reversing the whole thing where you know the solution cannot come from academia; it has to start with the industry, so we spin around from the classroom to the industry and work back to the classroom. I think this is something that we have been doing – looking at relevant careers, new careers and emerging careers. We now realise that the skills of the future lie in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), so we have made a shift,” he told JIS News.

“We have to think and act differently, as the solution of the past is now a problem of the future; so we have to do things differently,” he added.

Professor Pinnock said the institution now has the largest capacity in engineering across Jamaica. “We have surpassed all the other tertiary institutions,” he said, adding that approximately 500 international students are enrolled at the university.

“We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and we are in discussions with two other countries, one of which is Bermuda, and we are looking at creating another collaboration,” he told JIS News.

Expressing appreciation for the recognition, Professor Pinnock thanked the Government and people of Jamaica for the confidence reposed in the university.

“I have a fantastic team, and in the seven months that we have been a university, we have received several international and local recognitions. We are doing our own little thing without any recognition in mind, and just to see this, it’s really an encouragement for the team, because as a university, we are really changing the landscape of higher education,” he said.

Some of the awards include ‘Best Newcomer’ in the World University Debating Competition; seven gold medals in the World Cheerleading Tournament; and the hockey team copping the first prize in the Intercollegiate Hockey competition.

“It has really been a great time for the University, and I must say I am really proud when I see youngsters making a difference,” he said.

The institution is the first specialised public university and the only International Maritime Organization (IMO)-recognised maritime education and training provider in the English-speaking Caribbean.

All programmes offered by the university are structured around the maritime industry, with the aim of developing the industry.

Eighty-five per cent of graduates are placed in jobs within six months after graduation, compared to the other local universities where less than 50 per cent of their students are placed in the workforce.

Additionally, 80 per cent of the teaching/support personnel is drawn from the industry, while over 50 per cent of the Members of the Board of Directors are from organisations within the shipping industry.

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